The government of Somalia announced on Sunday that universal suffrage will be introduced in the country in 2024: it will replace the current electoral model, the so-called 4.5 system, in which the heads of the main Somali clans elected members of parliament, who then elected the president. The government said the introduction of universal suffrage was agreed after four days of consultations between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre and other members of both the federal and six-state governments that make up Somalia.
The transition to universal suffrage had already been decided in 2020, but a number of reasons – disagreement among members of the government, insecurity due to frequent terrorist attacks – had contributed to delaying it. According to the Somali news agency Sonna, the government has also decided to move from a parliamentary system to a presidential one and to abolish the office of prime minister: from 2024, therefore, voters should vote directly to elect the president and vice president .
The clan-based voting system was introduced in Somalia in 1969, the year in which the regime of dictator Siad Barre began. Over the years the rivalries between the clans had led to clashes and tensions, widely exploited by terrorist groups active in the country, the main one of which is al Shabaab, a jihadist group linked to al Qaida which has controlled parts of Somali territory for many years and has attacks both in Somalia and neighboring countries.